Looking across to the snow capped alpine mountains seen from the back seat of a motorcycle

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Fastest Purchase In The (North)West

Blog Date 29 January 2024

So far the dealerships have proved disappointing in my search for a new motorbike.

There is another option, but it is one I am scared of. The private deal. You know that really scary thing when you trust another person to sell you their own used bike. To trust it's not stolen or been in a bog for the last year. The idea of it actually makes me sweat even thinking about it. But I have seen a rather good price offered on a second hand Kawasaki that is rather appealing.
It is a Kawasaki Z400 Performance Edition, a 2020 model with only 1665 miles on the clock and an asking price of £3800. A current 2023 Kawasaki Z400 performance would cost you around £6400 new. From the picture the bike looks mint. 

A screenshot of the advert from a phone, we see the price and the shiny z400
Ooooo it's shiny.

Worth a look? I know it is but I feel really uncomfortable about going to a stranger's home to look at their bike. Luckily I have a Ren. Ren will come with me so that makes it feel better. So a time and day is arranged to travel over to the Wirral and view the bike.

I travel on the back of Ren's bike for the trip over to the Wirral. We arrive early, early enough for me to get even more nervous about it all whilst waiting around until it seems an acceptable time to arrive at the seller's home. The seller's home is rather lovely, including a smart driveway leading up to a double garage. I knock tentatively at the front door and the seller appears. The seller, a chap named John, is a nice man. A mature gentleman with a friendly demeanour, he opens the garage and wheels out the Kawasaki.
The bike, as I said earlier, looked mint in the photos and it looks mint in the metal. It is super clean and polished and gleams temptingly in the autumn sunshine. Ren asks John some questions about the bike. He bought it just before covid, has not used it much, tending to use his scooter more these days. He bought it himself as a ex demo from a Kawasaki dealership. He is happy to show us all the paperwork for the bike and everything he has told us about the bike matches the documents. 

The Performance model comes fitted with an Akrapovic exhaust, a seat cover and tank pad. On starting the bike the exhaust makes a lovely sound, nothing offensive, not loud but a pleasing rumble. John has also added Renthal handle bars and shortie adjustable levers. The bike also has a top box fitted. 

John goes to make us both a brew while Ren and I have a quick chat. We both agree it is a lovely genuine bike at a good price. It has been extremely well loved and looked after by its current owner. I decide I want it, but do I dare haggle Rens asks? 

Emerging with our brews I tell John I am interested in the bike but let's just get straight to it and can he tell me his best price. I am nervous, so way more abrupt than I intended to be but John seems unfazed and tells me he has already reduced it but he will do it for £3600. I say I will take it and we shake on it with smiles all around.

We exchange telephone numbers to enable us to make arrangements for me to collect the bike the following weekend. I will have to sort out insurance, tax etc for the bike. After waving farewell that is it, I think I have bought myself a new to me motorcycle.

Of course I spend the next week anxiously worrying about whether the bike will be there to pick up next weekend. I have put a small deposit down to secure the bike so no big loss to me but I do worry about the most stupid things. However no such worries were necessary. Come the following weekend the bike is waiting for me.  

Looking at the Z400 waiting for us as we get back to John's house
Waiting patiently.

Money is digitally exchanged and the Kawasaki Z400 is now mine, all mine. John I can see is quite sad to see it go, I know that feeling so I can empathise. 

However I do not get to ride it home, I have had to come in the car because Ren gets to ride my new bike before me. Booo. But such is the life of a short arse. I will need to lower the bike before I can ride it. My car is loaded with the top box, the original exhaust and handlebars and a paddock stand. Generous man John. After all my fears of buying private, I am grateful John has proved my fears unwarranted. It was overall a very pleasant and positive experience purchasing a bike from John. Thank you very much Sir. 

I still feel a bit shaky. Parting with £3600 cash does not come without some uncomfortable feelings in the bank balance department. Also, what if I have made the wrong choice? This is the 3rd bike I have purchased now and all of them have been without test rides prior to purchase.
1st Zen the Keeway. I hadn't even passed my CBT so I could not test ride him. I needed the Keeway for my actual CBT, as no school bikes were low enough for me to ride comfortably. The first time I got to ride Zen was after purchase on my actual CBT. I Never regretted that purchase. Totally loved Zen and we had the best learning experience and adventures together. 

2nd up Envy the Kawasaki Z250SL. There were no demo bikes available for this model and it was too tall for me anyway. So once again this was also bought untested. The bike dealer did lower it for me so I could at least ride it away myself brand new from the bike shop. Again, after an uncertain first few weeks while becoming used to bike, I eventually adored Envy and she brought my riding to the next level of thrills and adventures. No regrets there either.

3rd up (as yet unnamed) the Kawasaki Z400, I have at least test ridden its cousin the Ninja 400 some time ago so at least I had a small feel for it. However once again the actual bike I had just purchased was an unknown quantity to me.  

Now you may wonder how I test rode the Ninja 400 and claim to be too short for the Z? I can just about get a toe tip down. I was willing to decide that was enough on the short test ride on the Ninja. I wasn't willing for a tip of the toe to be enough on a £3600 purchase that was to be ridden through a very busy Liverpool city centre on its way to its new home. No, I was willing to wait for the newbie to be suitably lowered. 

We all arrive home. I pat the newbie on the seat and welcome him/her (yet to be decided ) to their new home. 
This purchase has had to be the fastest I have ever made. From deciding I wanted a new bike to buying one and bringing it home was just 2 weeks. The Z400 has finally broken my over researching obsession. I thought, I saw, I liked, I decided and I bought. It feels extremely liberating. (I may just throw up later.)  But for now here stands this lovely new shiny thing. Welcome my new friend, what adventures await?   

The Z400 back at Sharon's home
The Z400 seen from the other side in Sharon's garden

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Reader's Comments

nab301 said :-
Sharon , the Z400 looks good with a great spec , light weight and plenty of power , I'm guessing if Ren gets his way we'll be getting a valve clearance tutorial before the end of the year! Hopefully the 400 serves you as well as the 250 and it'll be interesting to hear how the running costs compare to the 250 ( I'm guessing that they'll be similar..) Does the rear rack mean Touraplank will be going into liquidation?
31/01/2024 14:04:01 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Well done Sharon, looks like an excellent buy. I have to say that I have very rarely bought a bike from a dealer and the few I have have almost always turned out to be duds - except the Tiger 955i which was a good bike despite the appallingly inept workshop staff at the dealer. Similarly I have never had a bike serviced or worked on by anyone but myself as I firmly believe that no-one will care as much about it as I do.

Oddly enough my last 3 bikes have been bought through facebook marketplace (from private sellers) and have all gone exceptionally well. I didn't even see the Greeves before I bought it although the bike transport chap gave it a quick look over for me when he picked it up.
31/01/2024 15:22:50 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Looks just peachy.
I'd be interested to read your thoughts once you get to enjoy it.
The Pan and The B were private buys.
31/01/2024 18:08:32 UTC
Bogger said :-
Very smart that Sharon. Give it the berries for me, if you will.

31/01/2024 22:06:42 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
I've never bought a bad bike privately. There are some out there who treat bikes with the same enthusiasm as a washing machine, but most of us are enthusiasts. If I go to look at an unkempt machine with a rusty chain, I walk away, but on the whole, I've picked up some bargains in private sales and it looks like you have too Sharon!
31/01/2024 23:21:26 UTC
Henrik said :-
Nice, best wishes, and if its like one inch to high, or so, most likely lowering suspension and modified boots could cure that. That frame holding the top-box is spoiling the look a bit. I would look for some solution to easy take it off, and only use it for longer trips.
01/02/2024 22:56:38 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
Don't worry Henrik, I'm sure Ren will come up with an elegant and well engineered solution to luggage carrying...
03/02/2024 10:37:23 UTC
Henrik said :-
CrazyFrog, sure you are right, but still it sounds scary somehow ;-)
03/02/2024 17:47:22 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Are some people here indelicately suggesting that Tour-A-Plank is not a beautiful addition to Kawasaki's Z250SL range? Why the cheek... the impudence! Deep down I know you're all really here to admire my delightful engineering creations and a yearning to learn from a master such as I.
Posted Image
05/02/2024 07:29:49 UTC
KiwiJeff said :-
Congratulations Sharon a really nice looking bike. I've always liked the Z400 Kawasakis and that bike is stunning in my favorite black colour with Kawa Green highlights. I'll now lose a few hours researching Z400s and local prices as they had dropped off my radar but you just put them back on! Look forward to your comments about riding your new machine.
06/02/2024 20:53:21 UTC
Sharon said :-
Thanks for all the interesting comments and your congratulation on the Z400.

One of the main reasons for the purchase of the Z400 was to have a a bike better equipped for touring. So nabl301 the idea was therefore not to have any further editions of tour-a-plank.

As a side note tour-a-plank was in itself just fantastic. It served a great purpose and enabled the touring adventures of the Z250. Without it's adventures we would have not travelled very far at all as we would have been stopping every half mile to reposition the sliding luggage.

I will be updating you all shortly on how the Z400.

18/02/2024 10:54:47 UTC
Sharon said :-

I am not personally a fan of black Kawasaki's. Neither am I fan of blue or maroon Kawasaki's.
To me, call me old skool, but a Kawasaki has to be green. I recently got sent a survey by Kawasaki about what colors the bikes should be. GREEN was my only answer. Of course I have preference on those shades of green. I think the pearlescent green that Envy, the Kawasaki Z250 came in is the most beautiful colour I have ever seen on a bike.

However I guess other people have different preference to colours and I think that is fine on one proviso. That each model should always come with a green option and then add additional colours as required.

The saving grace of the Z400 performance model to me was the green trellis and the nod to green with its stickers. The log book actually has the colour down as grey? Go figure, funniest shade of grey I have seen it is most defiantly black.
18/02/2024 13:54:54 UTC
nab301 said :-
Hi Sharon , obviously all my comments were in jest but looking again , Tour-A -Plank has given me an idea for my CBR500...
18/02/2024 14:50:27 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
nab301 - you do realise the Tour-A-plank system is a patented invention? Any equivalent creations are subject to approval by the Bikes And Travels management and a licence fee. You will have to submit images of your creation for the CBR500 for approval and if BAT approves there will be an invoice of 50p for the licence.
18/02/2024 20:25:31 UTC
nab301 said :-
I'm patient Ren , will you be renewing the patent for the full 20 yrs or will it just be the minimum 5 yrs?
19/02/2024 14:55:44 UTC

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